It’s the first week of February and you’ve had enough of winter, yet the forecast calls for more “weather events” in the coming week. You’re run-down and feeling like the next cold to come along could knock you flat. Though we’re 2 weeks past “Blue Monday”, you wonder if those blues might last forever.
Your gung-ho dreams of a plant-based diet have morphed into a pasta-and-chips-based diet.
The end of winter is in sight, but how can you find some of that springtime feeling now?
- Kick-start your energy.
- Boost the waning drive in your resolution to eat better.
- Bring hope to your midwinter slump.
Yes, even when it’s -25C (-13F for those of you south of the border).
Yes, every day, Even when you don’t fee like it.
1. Get outside for a bit of oxygen therapy.
Think of it as a mini-detox and an energizer.
I know, if you live in the city, the concept of fresh air is somewhat relative. That said, it has a higher oxygen count than the recycled air in your office building, the shopping mall, your car and your house when all the windows are closed.
Out with the bad, in with the good, and all that.
Not only does oxygen improve your heart and lungs, every cell in your body will benefit, allowing them to work at their best. That means better digestion, better immunity, a sharper mind and better moods. More oxygen means that YOU will be at your best.
Oxygen bonus: Spend your outdoor time somewhere with trees.
At the very least, stop to take 3 long, deep breaths as you go from house to car, car to office,…
2. Daylight improves your sleep and resilience.
The bounce of that sunlight off the snow will make its way to your pineal gland, just inside the middle of your brow. This little nugget regulates circadian rhythms, that is, it’s in charge of your sleep and waking cycles.
Get outside in the morning, and you will sleep better at night.
The pineal gland is also at the apex of your endocrine system. By setting your internal pace, it speaks to your hypothalamus and pituitary, who in turn send a cascade of signals to the rest of your hormone system. Your thyroid, adrenals, thymus, pancreas and ovaries/testes take their instructions from those 3 masters.
To put it more plainly, regular exposure to natural daylight improves your metabolism and your ability to withstand stress. Your immune system will also be better prepared to deal with those nasty bugs.
Daylight bonus: Pull your scarf down, push your shades up and turn your face to the sky. Feel it on your cheeks. Drink in the pleasure of that heat as your skin drinks in the rays it needs to make vitamin D.
At the very least, look up. That particular blue boosts attention, energy levels, memory, reaction time and mood. Think of the blue sky as Nature’s way of telling you it’s time to be up and about.
3. Get outside and move your body.
Honestly, in this kind of cold, there’s no choice but to move. What better way to counter that sluggishness of the indoor lifestyle!
Granted, moving isn’t something that’s limited to the outdoors. Stepping away from your laptop for a good dance break will work wonders for your mood and productivity. Hit your 10,000 steps inside a shopping mall or on a machine at the gym. Any movement will help, obviously.
Outdoor movement bonus: Your muscles, joints and heart will be so much happier if the movement happens in the fresh air & sunshine. (see above)
Besides, anything you do out in Nature is good for you at a deeper level. It’s grounding, it’s calming. If you pay very close attention, you’ll feel the pulse of the Earth below the frozen soil, the stirring of the trees in the lengthening days.
At the very least, take the dog for a short walk rather than letting him out the back door. Park your car on the far side of the lot or walk to the next bus stop before you get on.
How does time outside help your eating habits?
Get outside regularly in winter, and you’ll find that your appetite’s improved. I know, you’re already hungry all the time. That’s your body looking for energy to get through the day when what you really need is to hibernate.
I’m talking about a fresh-air-and-exercise-induced appetite. The kind that inspires you to make healthier choices. That’s because your body will crave the nutrients it needs to support the movement. Your body will be hungry for the vitamins and minerals to replace the detritus moving out of your cells and your tissue.
As you eat better, you’ll be filled with a more vibrant, sustainable energy than when you relied on pasta and chips. Which then gives you the energy to get through your day with more spring in your step…and enough leftover to get outside some more!
What’s your favourite way to spend time outside in winter? When you share your thoughts in the comments, you open the possibilities for others.
Let all your friends who are “done with winter” in on this secret by using any (or all!) of the pretty green buttons on this page.